Forgiveness is sometimes like a wrestling match. We want to surrender to this divine energy, but opposing forces are at play. These are the steps that helped me find my way after hurt and betrayal made their way to my doorstep. It wasn’t a linear experience for me, but rather a road I was committed to traveling. A two-stepsforward, one-step-back sort of thing. That one ah-ha moment did not move me forward, more like a patient journey. Here is my path, my “rocky road,”, and how I achieved a hard-won happiness. As they say, good things don’t come easy, but they do come.
“The lover never despairs. For a committed heart, everything is possible” – Rumi
- The action of consenting to receive or undertake something being offered
Holy Toledo. No thank you is likely the first and appropriate response to most events we have to forgive. Step one: Breathe. Notice your ability to look at this event squarely in the eye, and notice you are still breathing. Now breathe deeper and feel your expanding presence. It’s telling you that you are and will become more comprehensive in your viewpoint, more loving and more connected to truth than you once were. Growing can be scary. Just “allow” this God-awful experience to be here. Right now, at this moment, that’s all you have to do.
Acceptance is a lot like surrender. The energy is one of release, letting go and trusting. There will be time for processing later. Play with surrender for now. Allow “what is” to be. Ease into it, and trust the process.
- The ability to do something that frightens one.
- Strength in the face of pain or grief.
Forgiveness requires courage. The courage to feel the pain that has been inflicted. Please no pretending here. No pretending that you weren’t hurt or that it doesn’t matter. Your feelings are given to you as a part of a sacred process. Here is where we use them. In practicing deep acceptance, I had to feel the pain, the fear and grief. It wasn’t easy, but I survived. Here’s a secret: Feelings want to be “felt.” When they are allowed their due attention, they gracefully leave center stage and leave gifts behind as they go. Humility, vulnerability, empathy and strength, to name a few. Have the courage to actually take the time to feel your feelings. They won’t last forever, and they will purify you if you let them. When I looked at the basic fears that a betrayal unearthed, here is what I saw: fear of not being enough, fear of being unlovable, fear that no matter how hard I tried, things would never work out. These basic fears were formally an inseparable part of my psyche. Until this moment, they lay there creating quiet mischief in my life. When they erupt in the midst of a life crisis, they require that we evaluate them and decide if they are allowed to stay as a part of our operating system. This is the gift of pain. Courage allows you to receive them.
Bound-ar-ies /bound (e) res/
A line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line.
After working through the betrayal of a business relationship, my life coach gave me this piece of advice: “Amy Beth, you’re not as upset that it happened as you are afraid that it might happen again.” Forgiveness gets easier when we remove ourselves from danger. Let me say that again, forgiveness gets easier when we remove ourselves from danger. Do what you need to do to ensure your well-being, your safety, the survival of your spirit. Don’t give away your power. This is a critical step, and boundaries help you to do that. Get very clear on what you are willing to tolerate in a relationship. This in fact is a very loving thing to do. It perseveres your integrity and allows you to operate from your own truth. Skipping this step will leave you tripping down the path of forgiveness. It’s a critical part of the process. Ask yourself what you need to feel safe, and proceed with making the needed request or removing yourself from anything causing further damage. You may find you need to draw boundaries with yourself as well. Limit your tolerance of negative self-talk. Limit your prolonged indulgence in fear and anger. It’s a fine line to know when to experience these feelings and when we are indulging in the rush of adrenaline that negative emotions can bring. Drawing inner boundaries allows us to begin to define who we are committed to becoming.
To allow or enable an escape from confinement, set free.
Now is the time to really “Let it Go.” You will actually do this many times. How many? As many as it takes. When you’ve first been hurt, and someone tells you to “let it go,” it feels like they are trying to stuff a ball of thorns down your throat. After you have worked the process for a while, it becomes a natural next step. Like learning anything new, you may have to practice it for a while. Build your forgiveness muscle. If it seems too unnatural, go back and visit Step One, Two or Three. Practice letting go of the pain. It did its job and doesn’t need to stay forever. It’s taking up much needed energy you will want to use for the next step – Creation.
The action or process of bringing something new into existence.
Forgiveness as a process offers a blank slate. With hard earned wisdom we can begin to speak outloud what we do want in our lives. Although it is the final step, it is also a critical one. Without it, we most likely will repeat the same painful circumstance again and again. Take the time to envision the life, relationship, and conditions that you want to attract. Write it down, take a picture, create a vision board, talk about it with friends. This process of creation has a healing energy to it. You are wiser now, and new things are possible.
After moving through painful periods in my life, I found that acceptance, courage, boundaries, release and creation were my sacred process. They all allowed me to become someone new. Strength of spirit and wisdom were cultivated in me. Ironically, it happened through experiencing my vulnerability, and my humanity. The wrestling match was over for now and through it I grew both softer and stronger. This is what they refer to as “coming out the other side.” There is no way out, but through and from my vantage point, it was well worth the journey.
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Yours in Health and Bliss,